I Don’t Blame Sarah

I don’t really agree with Sarah Palin’s politics. I don’t really think much of the way she expresses herself either. Is she continually throwing herself (and her family) in front of TV cameras because she really has something to say; or to position herself for a run for the presidency; or is it just for the money? Well, that really doesn’t matter, does it? If she has the opportunity to make some money for herself and her family; she ought to strike while the iron is hot and she’s still in the midst of her 15 minutes. If she wants to face Obama in two years, she really needs to keep her name out there. Now, I could say that if she were truly interested in being a leader, she should have kept the job she had been elected to do. However, being the governor of Alaska may not be high-profile enough to position oneself for national office.

I don’t have too much of a problem with the ex-governor throwing a couple of jabs at Michelle Obama’s push to get Americans eating a little better. If Sarah thinks encouraging crappy eating is a way to appeal to her base, cool. Even though the First Lady didn’t really say what Palin quoted her as saying. It’s not a lie, it’s just having a little fun with a well-known figure. Kind of what Letterman was doing with that joke about her older daughter getting pregnant during a stop in New York – even though Palin was outraged that Dave would say such a thing.

Since the weekend shootings in Tucson, Arizona, there’s been a series of sidebar stories about a point made by the local sheriff, who bemoaned the vitriol that’s been pouring out of radios and televisions of late (mostly out of the right speaker). That’s had hosts and commentators, both local and national, doing a little sidestep, complaining that no one should blame them for anything that results from their hatemongering. Guys, if you call for violent action, don’t be surprised when a weak mind fails to see through the schtick and does what they’re told.

We don’t know what the case is in Tucson. The only paperwork extant suggests the accused shooter did not claim to be part of either party. And a spokesperson for the former governor notes that the crosshair symbols used to target certain congressional representatives for defeat weren’t crosshairs like you’d see in a gun scope, but the type of crosshairs you’d see on a map (uh, I must have missed that part of geography class).

I know that Palin comes from a gun culture. A lot of Americans do. I’m friends with many of them. Firearm imagery plays a big role in our language. Battle, warfare and conflict terms factor greatly in political discussions. So, when she used crosshairs in political messaging, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone. When people are in a fight, they’re going to talk like it. Has political discourse gone too far? Some days, it seems like some radio hosts are an inch away from calling for lynchings (which makes me a little nervous). But, are the acts of a crazy man the fault of a not-too-bright politician who’s skating by on her looks? Probably not.

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About Doug Johnson

I spent 25 years in the news business, working in print, radio and television. After a steady rise to the middle, I made the leap to the private sector, which chewed and then tried spitting me out after 2 years. I zigged (instead of zagging) into a position in television production.
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